She stood in the wind. Arms open wide, eyes closed, chin raised towards the sky, a smile on her lips. Her hair whipped around her face. Her feet were close to the edge of the cliff, green grass painting the fields behind her, the ocean crashing against he rocks below.
She wished she could fly. A thrill of freedom went through her, one she had never felt before, never allowed herself to feel. Duty had always seemed more important than the whispers of her soul. But now she had taken the first daring step towards a life she had not dared believe in. She had thought she would be punished, that she had somehow angered the gods by being disobedient.
Instead she was met with a clear, crisp morning and a new intimacy with the goddess that surprised her, humbled her. She felt love she almost didn’t dare touch. It was wonderful and terrifying. Perhaps she could truly take control of her own life.
I feel a little lonely. A little sad. Perhaps it was the book I read about the girl of the forest, slowly losing everything she loved. Perhaps it’s because I’m sitting at a cafe alone, and I wish I had someone to talk to, a friend I could open my heart to.
Things are changing though. When I came here there were a lot of people. The place was loud. Now there is only me, and the guy in black sitting against the wall. A woman walks up the stairs to take a seat at the table behind mine. We’re all sitting by ourselves, and somehow that makes everything better.
The sun is out. But it’s cold. For a moment I pretend I’m in another country, somewhere a little more south, as I look out on a brick bulding in pale orange and white, with slivers of sunlight on its cracked walls.
I enjoy people watching, and I smile as I see to women stop to greet each other, a quick hug and laughter before continuing on. The delivery guy is on the phone, his arms full of tulips. Tulips are everywhere. They’re the promise of spring.
I try to understand the anxiety I feel. Why I suddenly have such a need for hugs, friendship, cake and a good cry. Maybe it’s because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, let people see what I usually keep close to my heart, hidden away where no one can judge it. And I was not judged, I was welcomed with open arms and encouraging worlds. Still somehow my soul feels raw, my pride bruised.
I needed to get away, so I came here, to this cafe/restaurant of organic vegetables and raw chocolate cake. It’s not my favorite place, somehow it lacks heart, but I like it more now that I know I’m not the only one who comes here alone.
And I love that I can sit and look out the window, and do nothing except read and write. At home everything is shouting for my attention, there is always more to be done, and sometimes I just need a break to gather myself.
Cafes help. And chai latte. Chocolate eaten slowly. A walk in the forest. Observing people. Observing life.
What is your favorite place to go when you need to get away?
Before dawn I went with my husband into the forest. We walked for a while in silence, and well hidden among the trees we slipped on white robes with golden sashes. Then we faced the direction of the sun, knowing we would not be able to see it because of the heavy clouds; yet still the morning brightened around us.
We sang a few mantras together and just contemplated the forest for a while. I began to feel dizzy and we sat down.
I opened myself up. For a moment I thought I could perceive golden rays of energy shimmering on the trees, the moss, on everything around me. Then they were white. White and gold together, coming down from the sky and touching every little thing that I could see. I was amazed. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it.
I sat soaking it all in for a while. I remember the stream, the soft moss at my feet, the sound of birds.
Eventually we slipped out of our robes, put our heavy jackets back on and returned home. We were both tired and fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. Then I spent some time reading while he continued to rest.
Did you do anything special for the Equinox? Is there any way you would have loved to spend it?
I want to feel love. I want there to be only me and my divine mother. I want to feel nature around me, to feel what can’t be seen and to nourish myself on beauty.
I made myself chai tea. The air is still sweet with milk and spice. I enjoy adding the ingredients one by one, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger.
I have a jar of wild rose honey that I made last summer. I’m waiting for my tea to cool a bit before adding a teaspoon of it, perhaps a bit more. Something in me wants to cry a little. I think of a warm summers day by the ocean, fat bumblebees buzzing, pink roses moving in the wind.
I feel like I captured love in a jar. Of all the herbal medicines I’ve come across, this is to me the most powerful, the one I make every year. My heart needs it, my bruised soul longs for it. I’ve been stressed lately, wanting everything to be perfect for the Spring Equinox, and just in general putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it all done. I feel hard like ice inside, and I long to melt into the sweetness of rose and honey.
With the coming of the Spring Equinox, I feel there is a new lesson for me; to flow with life and not demand things to be perfect. Love and beauty is more important than clean windows. True, I did want to do a thorough spring cleaning, but it’s more important to be present, to soak in those special energies of the Equinox.
I’m drawn outside, into the forest, to walk among trees and to sit on mossy rocks. Look at things, those little details that make up life, the slow drifting of clouds. Even there I can feel stressed, but I allow myself to feel it and it begins to melt away. The Goddess is close to me there. I can feel her in my heart behind all my worries and doubts. She reminds me that love is most important.
There was a storm last night with rain and heavy winds. Now everything is quiet, and a blue and white sky whispers a promise of a sunny day. All the birds seem to basking in the magic of dawn. Several waterfalls are roaring in the distance, mingling with the sound of little streams that trail down rock and crevice. The world is cleansing itself in anticipation of spring.
The sun is on the mountain across the water, lighting up a forest of dull green and brown. I started walking, but then just had to stop and sit. Words were in my head, and I know I had to write them down before they disappeared.
I feel such joy at the beauty around me. My soul is drinking it all in. I remember sitting in a forest in California, among streams and giant trees. It was only a short visit before returning to the city. But it fed something in me, something that was starving. I remember thinking that I could live on and for beauty alone. Beauty and magic.
The spring equinox is approaching. I will dress in white, and if there is no snow and ice to hinder it, I will climb a specific hill with my husband to greet the sunrise.
Being back in Norway I search of remnants of the ancient religion, of ancient magic. I bought a mini series on DVD, and went through some trouble to get it, simply because it inspired something in me. I loved the scenes with the older woman, the grandmother. She would wear a knitted shawl around her shoulders, secured by a bronze brooch, her silver hair tied into a bun. The children would gather around her as she shared with them tales of old. Stories about the vikings and their mythology. They did rituals together, and the kids went on a dangerous quest of their own, to save the world from Loki and Ragnarok.
It was a kids movie, the acting a bit shaky, the Gods silly and not at all how I would imagine them, but I loved every moment of it. Especially those parts with the grandmother, of candles, sacred food and stories.
So I look for it here. Listening intently to the land to hear whispers of the ancient ways. Of celebrating the change of the seasons, and the return of the sun.
I’m sitting on the frozen ground, on a square of dark pink wool, a stubborn patch of snow at my feet. The lake moves in little ripples. The mountain and forest is bathed in sunlight.
White clouds float across a blue sky, the wind barely touching the trees, my hair, my face. I’m not cold. Perhaps spring has indeed come. I make out a few black dots on the water. A family of ducks. Sometimes I see swans, but they’re not here now.
I was eager to get up this morning. In the past I would have wanted to stay under the covers, hiding from the world, thinking everything was just too much. Things are shifting inside of me, and just as the wheel turns, the world changing, I too change. An eagerness to fill my day with magic is starting to take hold. I’m finally allowing myself to do what I love.
If you could fill your day with anything, what would it be?
My heart tells me to write. I would love to write a lot more than I do. I read a book where the author felt lonely because she hadn’t written that day, and she had lost the thread of her soul.
Yesterday was magical. I spent it mostly in the city, first at a cafe, reading, writing, and then exploring the different streets of twists and turns. I only moved here a year ago and haven’t yet gotten to know the city closest to me, I mean beyond the main shopping streets.
First I walked through the marketplace, where the farmers sometimes gather on Saturdays to sell fruits and vegetables, usually in summer time. Then I passed the giant stone church and a place of big trees and purple crocuses not yet in full bloom. My big sadness is that there aren’t many large trees left in the forests here. It must be because they cut them down, and they never get to grow old.
I’m drawn to those thick, beautiful trees. My heart aches for them. They have wisdom and voices of their own, deeper voices than the young ones. Something is terribly amiss without them, as they bring both beauty and magic to a place.
So I was very happy to see them here. I wanted to sit down but something drew me forward. The horizon. It looked beautiful as it was getting close to sunset, and I wondered what lay at the end of a long street of little white houses.
This city is a bit different from what I’m used to. I come from a place of mountains, where you can never quite see the whole sky. But here, if it wasn’t for the tall buildings, I would be able to see the sun dip into the ocean. This gave me a sense of being free. It made me smile.
I’ve sometimes wondered why I chose to come here. Or rather, why the Goddess chose this place for me. My heart has always belonged to western Norway, with its high, dramatic mountains and fjords. But here in the south all the peaks and angles are softer, kinder. Somehow it helps me hear myself better. And I find myself tuning into that guiding voice inside of me as I try to figure out who I am, and what I can possibly offer to others, and to the world.
With a brown paper back of organic groceries, I head down the street towards the horizon. I love the old white houses with little blue doors, so typical of the south. I admire them as I pass them, wishing we would stick to the old way of building things, sometimes cringing at the modern structures of concrete or brick. They always seemed so hostile to me. Like they’re trying to be all big and important, without feeling, without heart. Yet today the sun has softened them a bit, and I don’t mind them as much. I’ve found that when I’m inspired, when I’m in the present moment, life is just interesting and beautiful, no matter what.
The street ends at a small body of water, with a bridge and houses on the other side. I sit for a bit on a bench close to me. I put my paper bag on the ground. It’s not cold, at least not right now. I can tell everyone basks in the glory of spring, in the way people walk past me, often in something lighter than winter coats. But winter is still in the air. And as I woke up this morning the ground was white with frost, a thin layer of ice on the far corners of the lake.
I watch as the sky changes into a darker shade of blue. There’s pink at the edge of the horizon. The setting sun is reflected in the windows of the houses across the water.
I stay for a bit. I pray to the Goddess because even now I feel anxious, and I don’t fully understand why. I feel that if I lean into her, fully trust her, then my anxiety eases up a bit, but it’s hard to stay there. I keep trying though, as often as I remember.
Touched by her love I get up, finally feeling the chill of the evening. I start to head back, to my trees, but then I’m distracted by the pink of the horizon to my left and a glimpse of the ocean. So I head that way, still carrying my somewhat heavy paper bag. I want to see the sun before it sets completely, but I’m not sure which direction is west. And I think I’m too late, the evening is already too deep.
The place I come to is the most magical yet. Here too there are crocuses and snow drops. And my beloved big, old trees. The ocean speaks to me and reaches far beyond my sight. There is a structure of stone, I think an old fortress that is being renovated. It brings a sense of wonder to the place, a whisper of a time long past. I especially admire two giant oak trees next to it, their bare branches filled with crows. As I watch more birds come to join the others, and the sound of them makes me think of ancient forests, of bubbling cauldrons.
I want to stay and soak in the feeling of the place. I sit down by the water, watching two ducks paddle away from me. A man and his wife. He is handsome with colorful feathers and a green head. She is brown and lovely, a more gentle presence.
A woman walks past me with a tiny, fluffy dog that stops to sniff my pants. It’s cute beyond words. I want to cuddle it. There is a deepening shade of blue all around me, touching everything. It’s almost nightfall. The moon is out, has been out since the time I first started walking. Now a few stars have joined her.
The ducks return, and a woman and a boy snaps a picture of the fortress, or perhaps of the sky. They walk to the edge of the ocean and points at something, talking.
I decide to leave. The chill of early spring always seeps beneath my jacket, and into my bones if I sit still for too long. I should have brought my hat. My head aches a bit from the cold.
I’m getting hungry, a little tired of walking and decide to return to the street lined with cafes. I think I know where to go and head in that direction, still exploring the city as I’ve never been here before. I touch one of the trees as I go, pausing for a second and then moving on.
I pass two kids ice skating on a small man made pond. And then I have to stop again. I have followed the edge of the ocean and I want to watch it for a while. It stretched past a few small, rocky islands and then beyond my line of sight. I think Denmark is somewhere on the other side.
I turn and stay with my eyes fixed on the sky. There is a trail of fiery pink next to the moon. I stay there as the night deepens all around me. The pink is mixed with darker clouds and soon it all fades into grey.
The amount of people around me are dwindling. I hear music, someone playing with an instrument, a kind of a toy next to the icy pond. I walk into the streets of shops and cars, feeling relieved when I finally recognize where I am.
I‘m close to a new cafe I want to explore when my husband calls. He is done with his thing and wants to meet up. He wants indian food, but we discuss it, and somehow end up with sushi. It’s a good choice. It turns out to be the best sushi I’ve had so far in Norway. I feel tired, a bit sleepy from all the fresh air. My heart is full of wonderful new impressions.
Got up early. The quiet of the morning all around me. Still a bit tired, still a bit grumpy. The hum of the fridge fills the room. A candle in the far corner of the kitchen. The world is already getting brighter, it’s not longer pitch black, but the sky is a dull grey. I can make out the mountains, the lake. The few stars I saw earlier are gone.
I felt anxious when I woke up. I always do. I can’t quite figure it out, though I think it has to do with pressure, an imagined pressure about the things that needs to be done. Somehow I also feel I’ve been bad. The Goddess is angry with me, or just disappointed. I haven’t done enough to earn her help, and things have also been too good, I’ve been too happy and it’s time for it to stop. I’m not allowed to feel this happy, to feel this much love. At times my heart feels bright with it. Yesterday I felt there were stars inside of me.
Somewhere along my journey of growing up I learned to always expect bad things. Especially if life was good, I could not fully enjoy it because I knew pain would follow.
I have so many dreams. So many things I want to do. Deep inside I know they are possible, but my mind is scared, it doesn’t belive I’m allowed to be happy.
Deep inside though, there is truth. My heart tells me I’m loved. There is no reason to fear. There is no reason to look for pain, going through life all tense and miserable.
I hear one lonely bird. Spring is coming. The snow is almost gone. It only lingers deeper within the forest. It’s been raining for days, the waterfalls are huge, white arteries, some big some smaller, winding down the mountainside.
I ate chocolate with peppermint. It was delicious. Its tangy flavor stays with me. I might make some dandelion coffee soon. It’s sort of a spring ritual, a way of cleansing, of supporting my liver. I naturally crave it this time of year, as well as fresher foods. Foods of bright colors.
Anyway. My mind wanders, all over the place. I’m just writing, without trying to censor myself. It makes me a bit nervous, my perfectionist doesn’t like it. I would like to put my perfectionist under the bed, or in a closet, throw away the key.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get up this early every day? To have my little ritual of writing, of contemplating myself and life around me.
Oh! There is that bird again. In summer time the bird song will be loud, like a chorus. Now there is only one singing its solo. Sing sing! Little birdie! So beautiful!
Leaning into love is difficult. Allowing joy, letting it nourish me now, deeply, fully. I don’t want to worry about what’s to come. I feel I’m here to learn, through happiness and pain. But I need to be fully present in both.
I can make out the birch trees now. I love them so much. They seem so feminine, so gentle, pure and elegant. They’ve been my favorite trees as long as I can remember. When walking to our cabin in the mountain we would walk through a birch forest. It was my favorite part of the hike.
I breathe deeply. I feel lighter. Brighter. I started my morning with a short dance. It’s my way of asking the God and Goddess to support me, and to remember to pray for others.
I feel like laughing now. I want to embrace this day with arms wide open.
How do you feel, when you first wake up? How do you spend your morning?